Marvel at the cherry blossom trees at the foot of a mountain and soak your feet in the public baths formed by natural hot springs.
Like a distant cinematic planet, Beppu is glazed with steaming mud pits and hot springs. Much of the city’s culture and design has grown around these thermal pools, with traditional spas and themed attractions where food is cooked by natural springs. Visit the parks and mountain trails surrounding the town and soak in the steaming spas.
For a glimpse of what the city is known for, check out some of its hot springs, which are known as the Hells of Beppu. Stroll through the pretty gardens of the Kamado Jigoku and relax by the lotus pond. See the steam rising from bubbling water in the Boiling Hell Hot Springs and the Blood Pond Hell Hot Springs, among others.
Many elegant sites have been set up to channel the supposed healing properties of these thermal waters for use in spas. Luxuriate in the hot pools of the Takegawara Onsen and get covered in sand heated by the hot springs. For a relaxing thermal water treatment, you can also try the Kannawa Onsen and the Kankaiji Onsen. Appreciate the scenic vista of the town and the green mountains rising beyond it.
Enjoy a picnic in Beppu Park, which has an observation deck atop a hill. Escape the city with a trip along the innovative Kintetsu Beppu Ropeway that rises above cherry blossom trees and provides excellent views of the city. At the upper station, hike up to the summit of Mount Tsurumi.
Just outside the city, visit Japan’s smallest fortress, Kitsuki Castle, and admire the ruins of Hiji Castle.
The city is in the northeastern corner of the Ōita Prefecture, in southwestern Japan. Drive south from Hiroshima for 190 miles (300 kilometers) to get here in about 4 hours. You can also travel to the surrounding towns by train from the Beppu railway station.